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Fright and Rapture: A causality…?

“The Basis of optimism is sheer terror…” - Oscar Wilde

“Peace”, “happiness” and “success”; Why are we so fixated on attaining them? What exactly do they signify? We shall inevitably and eternally scrounge the depths of human Psyche in pursuit of such questions.

However, what is it really that we human beings respond to? Maybe that’s a question worth exploring.

We as a civilization have come a really long way. We have come to deeply appreciate the very essence of existence of life, the lack thereof and everything else in between. We have quite successfully tapped into our neural system in order to understand what really drives us. One might wonder, “But hey, there’s no right answer to this, is there…?”. Now, while that couldn’t be any less true, we have undoubtedly gotten close. 

Have you ever tried to reason with the existence of absurd content on social media based upon grotesque themes, or for a lack of a better word, deranged ideas? Do they really just “happen” to surface on your social media feed? If history is any witness that testifies to the passing of time, then clearly we as humans want something beyond just “happiness.” 

To say it out loud in a watered-down one-liner: Yes, we fundamentally, veritably and immensely crave what comes with a gut-wrenching experience. And It’s not merely a hypothesis.

Why do we love the dizziness associated with a loop-de-loop while loathing the stomach drop sensation of a roller coaster? Or really squeal with delight inside of a horror house but retreat in terror if taken to an actual cemetery? The difference between loving fear and hating it comes simply from proximity. 

When a threat triggers our fight or flight response, our bodies prepare for danger by releasing chemicals that change the way our mind and body function. What this does is give us extra energy and make sure we’re protected from pain, while shutting down non-essential systems like critical thought. So basically we’re left feeling energized and pain-free, while not having to worry about what is usually troubling to us. This of course sounds like a great deal to many people. The answer to why this feeling is different from actual danger lies in the context. When we’re in real danger, we’re focused on survival and not fun, but when we trigger this high arousal response in a safe place, we can focus on enjoying the natural high of being scared. 

We’re basically just relabeling the experience of being scared. 

Delving into the allure of fear reveals a psychological tapestry extending beyond mere thrills. Controlled encounters with fear offer opportunities for self-discovery and empowerment. Orchestrated fright, though not life-threatening, resonates deeply, evoking responses akin to real danger. Overcoming such fears yields satisfaction beyond make-believe, unveiling hidden reserves of strength. This journey becomes an exploration of our inner landscapes, pushing the boundaries of our courage, fostering self-esteem and confidence. 

As we swim in a pool of treacherous contradictions, societal norms and “moral Qualms”; We get deluded from what we had collectively discovered as the “truth”. For some reason, The very pursuit of truth ends up binding the pursuer in a dubious shackle. 

Is it the “fear” of discovering something that might not align with our version of “truth” at all?  Or is it The Exhilaration derived from the said fear itself?


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